A royal breach! A Buckingham Palace catering staff assistant named Adamo Canto has pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, which occurred between November 11, 2019, and August 7, 2020.
The staffer has been accused of stealing and selling a "significant quantity" of items — which police found at his personal quarters at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace — from the royal household, including signed photos of Prince Harry, Prince William, Kate Middleton and more.
Due to the coronavirus, Canto's role at the palace changed, and he was tasked with more responsibility, which allowed him access to the private sectors of Queen Elizabeth II's official abode. Canto was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced at a later time. The judge warned the staffer that he may face jail time.
In the Westminster Magistrates' Court, prosecutor Simon Maughan said the items Canto stole were worth between $13,300 and $133,630. Maughan reported Canto sold 37 of these items on eBay for "well under" their actual value. The staffer made around $10,300 from the royal goods.
Amongst the items stolen were a royal state banquet photo album from President Donald Trump's visit to the United Kingdom last year, a Companion of Bath Medal — which belonged to the Master of the Household — and a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order medal that the Queen gave major general Richard Sykes in 2010. He also stole 77 items from the palace shop as well as pieces from staff lockers, the Queen's gallery shop and the Duke of York's storeroom.
Her Majesty has not been back to her London palace since March amid the pandemic. She has been spending time with her husband, Prince Philip, at Windsor Castle, Sandringham estate in England and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
This is not the first major security breach the monarchy has faced. In 1992, an unarmed man named Michael Fagan managed to bypass security, climb the Palace drainpipe and sneak into the monarch's bedroom late at night. Fagan, who was 30 at the time, chatted with the Queen for ten minutes before police arrived.
While Fagan is probably the most notorious royal trespasser, there have been three other incidents in the past decade. Last year, a 22-year-old unarmed man got past "the CCTV and the heat sensors that also surround the palace" and climbed over the fence on a Wednesday morning. According to ITV reporter Jonathan Swain, the man was "just meters away from where the Queen was sleeping" by the time the arm guards detained him.
Another man scaled the palace walls before he got caught in 2016, and a knife-wielding man was stopped before entering the Palace gates in 2013.